The District of Columbia Court of Appeals ordered (PDF) the disbarment Thursday of Vahid Shariati, a Washington immigration attorney facing allegations of more than 100 violations of the D.C. Rules of Professional Conduct.
Shariati, who represented himself in the proceedings, was accused of taking a retainer to do immigration law work, usually between $500 and $3,000, and then failing to file paperwork or keep clients informed about what was going on in their case.
A working phone number for Shariati could not be found.
A July 2010 report (PDF) from the Board on Professional Responsibility listed eleven clients that Shariati allegedly failed to properly represent between 2002 and 2003, to the tune of 128 disciplinary rule violations. The cases ranged from asylum petitions, visa and residency applications, and other immigration-related work.
Shariati claimed that the Bar Counsel engaged in “vindictive prosecution” and disputed that he had done anything wrong. The board wrote that Shariati attempted to “craft by vituperation and fanciful supposition a plenary defense to disciplinary charges.” He also claimed that he was denied the right to counsel, but the board found that he had failed to assert that right.
The board found Shariati had violated all but three of the charges. The three-judge appeals court panel disagreed with the board, finding that there was enough evidence that Shariati had violated all of the charges.
“The recommendation of disbarment is based upon respondent’s multiple violations in eleven client representations, the dishonest and deceitful nature of his conduct, as well as ‘his lack of remorse,’” the judges wrote, referring to the board’s report, which called for disbarment.
Judge Anna Blackburne-Rigsby and Phyllis Thompson, and Senior Judge Williams Pryor heard the case.